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Apple sued over iPhone 'bricking'

updated 03:25 pm EDT, Mon October 8, 2007

iPhone 'bricking' lawsuit

A resident of California, Timothy Smith, is the primary plaintiff in a new class action lawsuit filed against Apple, according to reports. Smith and his attorney, Damian Fernandez, say that the iPhone violates the Cartwright Act, because Apple "prohibits iPhone consumers from using and purchasing a cell phone service other than through AT&T." The lawsuit also specifies that unlocking a cellphone is legal under both normal copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has an exemption protecting the practice.

The wording of the filing blasts Apple, charging that "as a result of Apple's unlawful and anti-competitive conduct, consumers continue to pay artificially inflated prices for the iPhone and AT&T's cell phone service." Legal use of an iPhone currently requires a two-year AT&T contract in addition to the $399 price for the phone itself.

Should Smith and Fernandez win, Apple could be barred from using software locks, or requiring an AT&T contract and denying warranty service to customers with unlocked phones. Since the suit is a class action, Smith could also be joined by any number of co-plaintiffs, who would be entitled to part of "an amount according to proof at trial" as monetary compensation.

Apple has been under increasing pressure since the v1.1.1 update for the iPhone, which broke hacks for both carrier unlocking and installing native applications, in some cases rendering iPhones unusable. For its part the company has alternately backed or denied crippling hackers, attempting to manage growing public backlash.

by MacNN Staff




  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yep, legal

    Does that mean Apple has to fix it when you break it? No.

    It just means you aren't going to jail for hacking it.

  1. godzappa

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And it has not been proven or probably even POSSIBLE for software to ruin their hardware.

    Apple are actually denying warranty service if people jailbreak and install third party software, that's ILLEGAL.

    A company cannot deny warranty coverage due to third party installations, unless proven without shadow of a doubt, that the third party component directly damaged it, and then ONLY that one component, not the entire device/car/ whatever.

    There is zero proof that any software be it jailbreaking or unlocking effects hardware at all let alone breaks it, so they are breaking the law by denying service.

    Apple are trying to scare and bully it's consumers, they need to be set straight.

    Sure deny software support to them if the OS is modified, but that should be all.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    whine, whine, whine!

    Wow, a whiner actually found a dumb enough lawyer to take on the case.

    "consumers continue to pay artificially inflated prices for the iPhone and AT&T's cell phone service."

    Considering that the iPhone is currently priced lower than most smartphones, and offers more, and that the AT&T iPhone plans are actually lower than the next competing plan with T-Mobile, that's gonna be an interesting couple of points to make...

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just in time...

    ...for Christmas stockings...? :-)

  1. dmsimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I think it's great

    It is anti-competitive.

    We have become a society of lemmings that bow to corporations.

    Don't taze me 'bro!

    Get 'em!!

  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Godzappa, please point me to the law that says it is illegal to deny warranty service based on third party alterations. Practically every company out there will deny you warranty service if you alter a product. This is because they do not want to be responsible for problems caused by third parties. They are only warranting the product they sold you.

    That is basic contract law. I agree to sell you a product and give you a warranty provided you abide by certain conditions. You accept the conditions by buying the product. Sure, you can violate terms under which I agreed to provide you warranty service, but I no longer have to provide you service because you broke the deal. Apple didn't force anybody to update their iPhones. Moreover, Apple told people both publicly and in the installer that if you modified the iPhone the update would likely break it.

    I await patiently for you to provide the legal authority for your position. Good luck with that, as you will need it

  1. michaele

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You are suprised?

    Personal Injury and liability lawyers tend to be the lowest form of multi-celled life on earth.

    Sad thing is to say that some moron who bought an iPhone, screwed around with it even though he knew that wasn't allowed according to the license he agreed to is permitted constitutional rights. People like this guy make me vomit. Leeches upon society who take money out of our pockets.

    You know those lawyer jokes? There not jokes. They are all true.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    deep pockets

    that's right, everyone can play Litigation Lottery! Just find an attorney who thinks he can extort a deep pocketed defendant into paying the case to go away! You could win millions while risking nothing! It's the game all of America is playing!

    There is no other nation which is so lawsuit-happy as the USA. I am not sure if that is good or bad. It's good that the average joe has the opportunity to seek damages against deep-pocketed corporations; on the other hand it leads to lots and lots of frivolous lawsuits like this one, which ultimately is a drag on our economy (that we put so many resources into litigating every single f****** thing).

  1. michaele

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They're not there. If I could spell I'd be a lawyer!

  1. zwiebel_

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bricking via

    software should not be an issue here. Apple could have packaged a "total-restore" tool for people that now cary bricks around.

    Bad Apple..bad

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